Five free things to do in New York

New York is one of my absolute favourite cities. I’m lucky to have visited three times already – once in Spring and twice over New Year. Like London, New York can be expensive but there are lots of free things to do. Here are my favourite five:

1. Walk the High Line

Admittedly, this is better to do during Spring or Summer when it’s warmer and you can sit at one of the pop-up bars, but it’s still a great walk even in the colder months. The High Line is essentially a public park that runs along an old rail line, which is elevated above the streets. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues. There’s quite a bit of art work dotted along the route and the enclosed Chelsea Market is on 9th street so you can start there or end there and make it a day out.

High Line

The High Line NYC

2. Visit a museum

There are many museums in New York that are not technically free – they ask that you pay a donation for your ticket. The Met, for example, suggests a donation of $25 for admission however you can pay what you like. Here’s a list of museums that are either free or that are not free but offer certain days or times when it’s then free to visit. If you go to The Met, make sure you go up to the rooftop garden for fabulous views over Central Park. One of my favourites is MoMA but it’s not free. HOWEVER, go on a Friday night between 4 and 8pm and it’s free, thanks to UNIQLO!

3. See the statue of Liberty up close

If you’re not bothered about actually visiting the Statue of Liberty but you just want a really great photo – get the free Staten Island ferry, which gets really close. The ferry runs roughly every 30 minutes during the week and every 15 minutes during peak times. When you get on, make sure you get a good spot outside, on the right-hand side going out and on the left-hand side coming back.

Staten Island Ferry
4. Stroll round Central Park

Central Park is such an iconic part of New York. There is so much to see and do in the park from joining a free walking tour, visiting the zoo (not free) to hiring a bike or going ice-skating in the winter. Be sure to visit the beautiful boating lake. In Summer, there are a host of free concerts from classical music to opera.

Central Park
5. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

This is hands-down one of my favourite things to do in New York. We usually have a stroll and lunch in Greenwich village or Chinatown and then take a walk to Brooklyn Bridge, cross over the bridge and then walk back again. The views are spectacular – just mind the cyclists!

Views from Brooklyn Bridge

Have you been to New York? What are you budget-friendly tips?

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Five free things to do in New York

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